Being a part of the Online Entrepreneur Academy for successful entrepreneurs isn’t as far-fetched as you may think. In fact, did you know that there are more than 25 million Americans who are starting or are already running new businesses? This goes to show how persistent people are today to become online entrepreneurs.
Unfortunately, only about 20% of new businesses make it past their first year. And then after five years, less than half of these startups still exist.
And the top reasons why these businesses fail is because of poor revenue generation and lack of financial funding. Some of the other reasons include:
- Lack of experience/ managerial experience
- Neglect, fraud, disasters (catchall category)
- Lack of experience in good or services
But this isn’t stopping 69% of Americans who are starting home businesses each year. What’s great about this is that 59% of those businesses continue operating out of their homes (even 3+ years down the line). This proves that working from home is possible and can be sustainable.
However, you need the right foundation to make this work for you. So, let’s take a look at what’s required to become a successful online entrepreneur.
Let’s get started.
Become a Master of Your Art
It doesn’t matter if you’re selling products or offering coaching and writing services. If you’re not knowledgeable about your industry, then you’re going to eventually fail. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to know it all at the start of your business.
However, you do need to be committed to learning all you can early on and to continuing your education. This can be in the form of online courses, e-books, library books, school courses, or receiving coaching from other successful entrepreneurs.
It’s also a good idea to sign up for magazines, e-zines, email newsletters, YouTube channels, and anything else you can find to help you stay in-the-know about your industry. As we already stated – a large portion of businesses fail because of lack of experience.
And the best way to work around this is to educate yourself. With the right knowledge, you can make up for your inexperience. If you’re following the right experts, you may even be able to catch a trend early or even start one!
Just keep in mind that the most successful entrepreneurs have a niche. So, work on finding your niche (preferably something with low-competition and high demand). This goes for both e-commerce and service businesses.
Entrepreneurship Doesn’t Have to Mean Solopreneurship
When you think of an entrepreneur running an online business, likely you envision an individual on a laptop doing it all. But the truth is that the most successful entrepreneurs are those who have a solid team.
Imagine trying to operate an online store or virtual service, while advertising, answering calls, sending emails, and writing content for your blog. You’d lose your mind. This is why it’s important to delegate mundane tasks to others, so you can focus on operating and growing your business.
If you’re a service provider, this will give you more time to hone your skill and tend to your clients. And if you’re selling goods, then you can use this time to build relationships with new manufacturers and affiliates. The tasks you should outsource include communications, marketing, advertising, and customer service.
In doing so, you can ensure everything is in order for your clientele. It’ll also make your business appear professional and trustworthy.
Freelancers are one affordable way entrepreneurs can afford to outsource their daily and weekly tasks or one-off projects. Or you can do like 20% of entrepreneurs do and hire family members pro bono or part-time.
But eventually, you’ll want a professional freelance team (your “A-team”) that can grow with your business. The beauty of freelancers and contractors is you only pay them for the work they do. No benefits, vacation time, or other financial drainers.
Equip Your Home Office with Quality Tools
One of the top benefits of being an online entrepreneur is you get to work from anywhere. There’s no home office to drive to (or pay rent for). Yet, this doesn’t mean you don’t need to invest in quality equipment for your office on the go.
For starters, you’ll need a computer you can use with a fast processor, sufficient RAM (at least 4GB), and the latest software to manage your business. If you’re doing your own finances, then you’ll need tools like QuickBooks to keep track of your expenses (especially for contractors) and revenue. This will come in handy during tax season.
You can also use paid online services like FreshBooks. But do keep in mind you’ll need internet access in order to access these tools. Of course, you can outsource your financing to a freelance accountant/bookkeeper as well.
Speaking of internet, it’s critical to have access to high-speed broadband wherever you decide to do business for the day (at home or on the beach in Maui).
This is a common issue traveling entrepreneurs have, especially when they get into rural areas or third-world countries. Plan ahead to ensure there’s a venue you can use to gain access to the web to perform necessary business tasks and stay connected with your clients and freelancers.
Besides having the right software, computer, and internet, it’s good to have a reliable smartphone. This is an entrepreneur’s lifeline. When things go bad with the internet, you can sometimes use your data plan to check your emails or send in completed projects.
Worst case scenario, you can reach out to your A-Team and have them pick up your slack for a day or two while you’re without internet.
Have a Marketing Strategy in Place
There are nearly 2 billion websites on the internet (and counting). Rising above the noise can be difficult if you don’t have a digital marketing strategy in place. This is especially so if you have hundreds or even thousands of competitors to contend with.
Thankfully, the web levels the playing field for small businesses and startups, allowing them to compete with the bigger and more established companies. The key to driving visibility for your new brand is to develop a content marketing and social media marketing strategy.
This is one of those tasks you’ll want to outsource to ensure you get guaranteed results. And by this, we mean getting ranked in Google and other search engines (which can take months to achieve). You’ll need a search engine optimization (SEO) expert and content creator to help optimize your site and content. However, you may be able to handle the content creation on your own in the beginning.
Your blog (or vlog – video blog) will help position your brand as an authority. This includes delivering content that educates, entertains, and engages. A careful analysis of your audience is critical to ensure you’re creating content that attracts highly-targeted (aka high-converting) traffic.
It’s also a good idea to build your email list so you can have direct access to your audience. Use this access to send relevant content and promotions. Just make sure to segment your subscribers so you can create multiple personalized email campaigns. Personalized emails see an 82% increase in open rates.
Also, it’s essential to tie social media marketing into your strategy. This is where you’ll connect with influencers in your industry (who can help spread the word about your business) and your prospects/customers. This is also a platform for sharing your high-quality content to drive traffic to your site to either convert into a customer, regular visitor, or subscriber of your email.
At the end of the day, you need an ongoing marketing strategy that consistently drives traffic to your website and builds your recognition and authority as a brand.
Jump into the World of Entrepreneurship
Now that you have an idea of what it takes to build a solid foundation for an online business, it’s time to get started. The first rule of learning how to be an entrepreneur is to jump right in and start a business.
What makes online entrepreneurship attractive is the low-cost for startups. You can create your own digital products (e-books, video, courses) or use drop shipping services to avoid costly warehousing fees.
However, the hardest part of being a success as an online business owner is taking the leap. The second hardest is staying committed. But with the tips above, you should feel more confident in having the right tools to get started. From here, you can grow a business that enables you to earn money from wherever you are in the world.
If you’re ready to become an online entrepreneur, then what are you waiting for? Let us know in the comments about your ideas for becoming the next prosperous webpreneur.
What Makes a Successful Entrepreneur?
Since the great recession, the rise of the entrepreneur has become increasingly popular over the last few years, with new startups and ventures being created every year.
According to the 2016/2017 Growth Entrepreneurship Reports by The Kauffman Index, recent years have seen approximately 400,000 businesses being created every year, in the United States alone. Out of those businesses, around 45% survive their first 5 years and the remaining 55%, cease operation or are absorbed by other businesses.
Despite the staggeringly high rate of failure, entrepreneurial growth is on the up and so is consumer spending via the internet. Here’s how to capitalize on that steady growth trajectory and become a successful online entrepreneur.
How does an entrepreneur become successful? Is it brilliant ideas? Mindset? Or a product that wows the market? The Startup Genome’s report on discovering the patterns of successful internet startups analyzed 650 tech startups and discovered that the common trends for success are:
- A willingness to adjust and adapt with the times.
- A balance between technical and business knowledge, with expertise in product development.
- To be constantly learning, observing, listening and persistent.
- Staying committed to achieving goals.
- Developing mentoring relationships.
According to The Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2018, Startup Genome and Fingerprint for Success asked founders from around the world to take part in a study to analyze what attitudes, behaviors and skills attribute to a founder’s success. The qualities found were:
- Initiation—Startup venture success directly correlates to founders inputting their energy into turning ideas into action and starting new things.
- Patience—A founder with a high level of patience that pauses and reflects before taking action.
- Breadth—An entrepreneur that’s able to see the big picture of a situation or circumstance.
- Structure—Venture success is correlated to entrepreneurs that are able to plan and organize before they act.
The internet is teeming with over 4.1 billion users worldwide and approximately 3.8 billion mobile users. In 2018, the potential for developing an online business that generates revenue is huge and the time to start is now.
The key figures for eCommerce report by Statista indicate that the online sale of physical goods totaled up to $360.3 billion dollars in 2016 and by the year 2021, are projected to surpass $600 billion dollars. Retail e-commerce for apparel and accessories is projected to generate approximately $121 billion dollars by the year 2021.
Creating an eCommerce storefront on platforms like Shopify, integrated with a company website, can handle the business aspect of your company, for little startup cost and requires little overheads to offer a streamlined experience to customers on-the-go. Miranda Burnet, Founder of Flash Tattoos, states that creating an online business was the only possible route for her because she didn’t have the revenue for a physical storefront. An eCommerce platform allowed her to get her products on the market quickly and with little effort. Her business has successfully accomplished 90% revenue growth every year and an increase in traffic by 165%, year over year.
The days of winning customer loyalty by consistently delivering products that are of high quality are slowly fading and Total Experience Management is taking over. Companies need to create an emotionally engaging experience for customers by driving a brand’s story and leading customers through a journey of brand experience.
Branding and messaging need to be as clear and concise as possible, whether it’s on your company website or social media accounts. Confused customers aren’t likely to purchase your product or service. By humanizing content, it becomes relatable. You add value to your prospects’ lives and they reciprocate back. You’re able to build a connection between empathy, trust, and loyalty from business to consumer. This makes the consumers feel like they’re part of the brand and that gives them more than just gratification, from the product or service that you’re offering.
Social media—renown for its aesthetically pleasing photos on Instagram and quirky 280 character anecdotes on Twitter but what can social media do for an entrepreneur? With approximately 3.3 billion worldwide social media users, it has become a layer of the internet to directly market and sell products and services to customers. That makes it one of the biggest assets to attract prospects and convert online shoppers.
Consumers are glued to their screens and their attention is fixated on the various social media platforms that they browse, scroll and double tap. According to a study by Statista, the Millennial generation spend approximately 225 minutes of their day using mobile internet, that’s a lot of time to grab the attention of customers.
There are consumers on every corner of the planet and one important factor to note is: take advantage of all communication channels with buyers. Whether it’s communication through social media or a company website. The projected incline in eCommerce sales presents an opportunity to become a successful online entrepreneur for anyone with the right mindset, patience and the ability to deliver a brand’s story.
Online Entrepreneur Academy
Becoming a successful online entrepreneur doesn’t happen overnight. It’s just like opening your own brick-and-mortar store — it requires devotion, patience, and a willingness to take a few risks.
Almost any successful online entrepreneur will tell you there are five fundamental aspects (in no particular order) you must master to succeed in your online endeavors:
- Sharpen your skill set
- Maintain open lines of communication with customers/clients
- Diversify your income streams; this is where you must learn to take risks
- Research the industry
- Follow other successful online entrepreneurs
Many people don’t realize the online universe has more than enough work available to translate into a full-time income. Sales made via the internet are expected to hit upward of $4 billion through 2020. This means you have a prime opportunity to start your own online business. It comes down to pinpointing your skills and researching jobs where you can put those skills to use.
Once you start researching, you’ll quickly see just how valuable your skills actually are. For example, did you know online freelance writers often make upward of $60,000 a year? They literally sit behind a computer all day in the comfort of their own home typing up content for websites and make more than a $1,000 a week.
One of the biggest mistakes online entrepreneurs make is undervaluing themselves. They don’t take time to research their industries; therefore, they don’t have a clue as to how much they should be charging for their services and goods.
With proper research, your success as an online entrepreneur can be heightened to new levels. But first, you have to actually become an online entrepreneur.
Sharpen Your Skills
If you don’t sharpen your skill set as an online entrepreneur, the competition is going to eat you alive. There are literally millions of other people who are striving for the same goal as you. Whether it be operating an online retail store, making money from blogging, or selling software online, it doesn’t matter. You have to claw your way to the top, and when approached correctly, your competitors can actually be one of your most valuable assets. We’ll talk more about that in the next section.
When it comes to sharpening your skills, you want to be very particular. Don’t focus on skills that have nothing to do with what you’re specializing in.
If you’re going to specialize in selling retail products online, sharpen your e-commerce skills, like marketing automation and data analytics. If you’re going to host a blog that drives traffic to your online store, outsource this task to someone who specializes in blog writing. You need to focus on your end goal. You can’t do everything and there are too many people out there who specialize in areas you know nothing about but yet relate to your business in one way or another.
The point is, learn which tasks to delegate and focus on sharpening the skill set that you specialize in. If you try to be a jack of all trades, you’ll be a master of none.
Research Your Industry
Lean on your competitors as much as possible. Sometimes being a copycat can serve a good purpose. Do you see a competitor engaging with clients on Twitter? If so, perhaps it’s time to step up your Twitter marketing game. Does one of your competitors use a certain piece of software? If so, look into the software and see how it can be of benefit to your brand.
Researching your industry also allows you to pinpoint a price range for your services and products. Check out this helpful guide on marketing yourself and setting prices. It’s geared toward freelance writers, but it can be used by an online entrepreneur regardless of the industry you’re operating in.
Learn to Communicate with Clients in a Personal Way
Data reveals poor communication between employees, leaders, and clients results in a loss of $37 billion each year.
One of the most important things you can do to secure success as an online entrepreneur is to excel in public relations (PR). You must master communicating with clients. The more you get to know your clients, the easier it is to understand their needs and how you can meet them.
In addition to actually communicating with them via social media, chat boxes, and email, you can also use analytics to collect and analyze valuable behavioral data. Big data has revolutionized the online landscape. No matter the industry your online business is operating out of, it’s imperative to harness big data using some of today’s latest customer relationship management technologies. There are a ton of free tools available online that simplify managing customer data. More importantly, today’s analytics allow you to mine the data for valuable hidden insights that can propel you to success as an online entrepreneur.
Diversify Your Income Stream
One of the greatest aspects of the internet is that it allows you to easily diversify your income stream. No matter what you’re selling online, make sure you offer it via a multitude of platforms. Let’s say you sell designer purses. To boost your income stream, you should be selling on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Facebook, Twitter, via your own website, and more.
At first, diversifying your income stream might seem like a risky step. Let’s say you’ve established a profitable business selling items on Amazon. Why would you want to take part of your profits and invest in selling through an actual website? Well, for starters, this diversifies your income. Secondly, it allows you to target an audience that isn’t reachable on Amazon. By expanding your reach, you actually broaden your income potential.
There are plenty of ways to diversify your income online. When you’re selling products, you definitely need a website with its own blog. Did you know this blog can actually supplement your income? But as we mentioned before, if you’re not a writer yourself, you’ll likely want to outsource your blog activities. Still yet, when your blog features ads, you can easily pay someone to write your content and still earn a hefty profit. You can also take part in online affiliate marketing to diversify your income stream. Not only can you help sell products for other people, but you can have other people help sell yours — it’s a win-win.
Get Into the Routine of Not Having a Routine
To be a successful online entrepreneur, you must get into the routine of not having a routine. And if you happen to magically find a routine that doesn’t change from one day to the next, you’ve hit the jackpot.
When you sell products and services online, this means your company is open for business around-the-clock. You are at the mercy of your clients, and in an attempt to build a strong reputation and to be a business that exceeds your customers’ expectations, you must be willing to rearrange your plans at the drop of hat.
You may have a day or even a week from time to time when you are able to sit in front of the computer for eight hours a day and then tend to the rest of your life, but for the most part, being a successful online entrepreneur involves providing around-the-clock attention to your business.
Fortunately, there are thousands of online tools you can use to minimize the amount of time you have to devote directly to your online business. Email automation tools are excellent for helping you stay on top of communications with customers, but they also give you a way to instantly respond with an automated response and then curate a personalized response at a later time.
Take for example a customer submits an inquiry about a product at midnight. You’re in bed and the last thing you want to do is get up every time an inquiry comes through. With an automated response, the customer will receive an instant email response detailing that their inquiry will be reviewed within the next 24 to 48 hours. The next day when you view customer inquiries, you can then respond with a personalized response that directly addresses the customer’s concern.
Tools that almost all online businesses can benefit from include:
Follow Other Successful Online Entrepreneurs in our Academy
If you wanted to open your own construction business, you would want detailed insight as to how a successful construction company is operated. The same thing applies to online entrepreneurship. You need to follow in the footsteps of other successful online entrepreneurs. More importantly, you need to follow online entrepreneurs that are exceeding in the same line of business you want to succeed in. Entrepreneur.com published an excellent article back in 2015 that conveys how important it is to follow other online entrepreneurs. Give it a read here.
When you combine distinguished skills with clear communication, you can turn any online business into a success. As you become more familiar with being an online entrepreneur, make sure to start integrating a variety of tools into your business. From email and marketing automation to affiliate linking, these tools streamline your processes and boost your income and truly become an Online Entrepreneur.